Interview with Reece Bennett
Reece Bennett is no stranger when it comes to boxing. A Southern California native, Reece spent his days in the ring at an early age, much like his grandfather and father before him. During his early amateur career, Reece was a member of LA Boxing’s Fight Contingency Program, a program that supports our members through sponsoring amateur and professional fighters.
Being a third-generation boxer in your family, boxing is clearly in your blood. Your grandfather, Chester Bennett, fought in the 1930s and your father, Chet Bennett, in the 70s. Was there any pressure to become a boxer or did you find yourself naturally picking it up?
There was never any real pressure in my family to start boxing. That is one thing I am truly grateful to my father for. That being said, somewhere deep down I knew I would end up boxing sometime down the line. My father always watched boxing on the weekends and the major PPV fights were always a party with some major names of retired boxers who were always family friends. Looking back I was set up from the start to pursue boxing.
With your first amateur fight at just 11 years old, how supportive were your parents during your early years?
My father has naturally always been supportive throughout my whole career. He is my best friend, biggest fan and ironically my biggest critic. He will be the first one to tell me if he thought I lost, to the point where he has thought I lost some of those I won. My mom, on the other hand, has been supportive but also engraved in me the importance of education. I know, because of her, that school comes before boxing as it is a for sure way to better my future. If boxing works out, that will be amazing. But education is the only constant in anyone’s future.
What was the moment where you realized you wanted to pursue boxing on a more serious level?
When I was younger, I was involved in all sorts of different sports and competitions. Mainly competitive karate. After I had achieved a goal I had since I was 4 years old of getting my black belt, I decided it was time to try a new endeavor. My dad was weary at first, he didn’t know if I had the dedication to succeed in boxing. After countless times asking, he finally gave in and we got connected with hall of fame trainer Jesse Reid.
At 17 you won novice division in the California Golden Gloves tournament. What are other accomplishments you’ve had thus far?
I have won the Desert Showdown, the Nevada state championships, and recently got eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic reload trials. That made me top 10 in the nation.
Jesse Reid, a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, has been your trainer since you were 15 years old. How has helped you develop as a fighter?
Man there is so much to say about Jesse. He is so much more than a trainer to me, and much more of a father figure. Our families connected from the beginning and have been close ever since. When I was fighting my addiction to drugs, he came to California and put me up with his son in Nevada with the help of my parents. As a fighter (and a person), the biggest thing Jesse has taught me is that no matter what fight you are in, or how hard it gets you never give up and never stop fighting
How important is it for a fighter to have a strong bond with his trainer in achieving success?
To me that bond is mandatory. I trust Jesse and Trevor Sambrano, my second trainer and also an LA Boxing trainer, with my life and everything they say, I believe. The one problem with today’s boxers is the loyalty with their trainers. I have been raised, and firmly believe that you stick with your trainer through thick and thin. I understand situations arise where you need to change, but for me there is no boxing without Jesse or Trevor.
How would you describe your style?
My boxing style is always evolving and changing depending on my opponent and the strategy I need to employ. I feel the strong constant is that I have always been a boxer-puncher.
How long have you been training at LA Boxing? How has training at LA Boxing improved your skills?
I have been training at la boxing for about a year now. Meeting Trevor Sambrano there has drastically improved my skills and style. Since then, I have exceeded the skill level I thought was impossible in such a short period. The best part of this is I am still improving with no end in sight. It works out for me because Trevor and I live close by each other, so we’re able to train a lot in South Orange County.
What are some goals you have set for yourself for the rest of 2012 and beyond?
After falling short at the Olympic trials I have decided to look forward and not back. I would like to have another 15-20 amateur fights and in late summer I plan to turn pro, god willing.
When you’re not in the ring, where can we find you?
When I’m not in the gym, sadly I am usually driving to the gym haha. I go to LA 3 times a week to spar so that roughly translates to 10-15 hours a week of driving depending on traffic. Other than that I am usually studying or trying to fit time in with friends and my girlfriend, while also doing my work to stay connected with God and the things that keep me happy and sober. I have a lot to juggle in my life, and I am truly grateful for every part.
Thank you for your time and best of luck on your future. Any last words for the readers?
Thank you for everything. I feel truly blessed with Jesse and Trevor in my corner and am also thankful to LA Boxing for making my boxing goals slightly easier.